Study finds that changes in food shopping and meal behaviors were linked to changes in dietary intake and bodyweight during the COVID-19 pandemic among low-income parents in California

Nov 19, 2023

The article, “Associations between Changes in Food Acquisition Behaviors, Dietary Intake, and Bodyweight during the COVID-19 Pandemic among Low-Income Parents in California” was recently published in the Nutrients journal. Low-income parents in California reported changes in food/meal acquisition behaviors, dietary intake, and body weight from before to during the pandemic through an online survey conducted from April through August 2021. The study found that decreased supermarket or farmer's market shopping was associated with decreased fruit and vegetable intake and increased unhealthy snack consumption. Online food and meal ordering were associated with higher intakes of sweets, salty snacks, fast food, and increases in weight. Increases in cooking healthy home meals were associated with improved nutrition outcomes. This research suggests a need for interventions that support healthy home cooking and address the negative effects of online food/meal shopping to help mitigate health disparities post-pandemic and prepare for future similar emergencies. The study was led by Nutrition Policy Institute researchers, Gail Woodward-Lopez, Erin Esaryk, Suzanne Rauzon, Sridharshi C. Hewawitharana, with Hannah R. Thompson of the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, and California Department of Public Health co-authors Ingrid Cordon and Lauren Whetstone.

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